This book is a comparative study of oral poetics in literate cultures, focusing on the problems of textual fluidity in the transmission of Homeric poetry over half a millennium, from the Archaic through the Hellenistic periods of ancient Greece. It stresses the role of performance and the performer in the re-creative process of composition-in-performance. It addresses questions of authority and authorship in the making of oral poetry, and it examines the efforts of ancient scholars to edit a definitive text of the "real" Homer.
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